Jack Smith Gets ‘Worst Possible Outcome’ After Recent Ruling: Former Official
Jack Smith Gets ‘Worst Possible Outcome’ After Recent Ruling: Former Official

By Jack Phillips

Several former U.S. officials warned that special counsel Jack Smith appears to be struggling in his classified documents case against former President Donald Trump—even after the federal judge in the case denied an attempt to dismiss the charges against the former president.

This week, Judge Aileen Cannon issued an order that denied President Trump’s motion to dismiss the case on grounds of “unconstitutional vagueness.” While she noted his attorneys raised questions that warrant consideration, she said that their arguments relating to the Espionage Act should be made in “connection with jury-instruction briefing.”

Andrew Weissmann, a former U.S. attorney who worked on special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, said on MSNBC that the judge’s ruling not to dismiss the case was the “worst possible outcome for the government” and Mr. Smith. Because, he argued, if the judge had agreed to dismiss the case, it could “have been appealed” to an appeals court in the meantime.

After leaving the special counsel’s team, Mr. Weissmann has become an anti-Trump commentator who appears on MSNBC and other television news outlets to give his opinions on legal matters—often relating to the former president.

According to Mr. Weissmann, the appeals court could have delivered a swift ruling that rebuked Judge Cannon’s decision. He also noted that she asked the special counsel’s team to raise the issue later. “She has not given the government what they clearly” want, he added.

He was referring to Judge Cannon’s move not to rule on another motion filed by the former president’s lawyers arguing that the Presidential Records Act allowed him to designate the documents in the case as his personal property. She said it would be difficult to throw out the case before it went to a jury over the argument.

Meanwhile, former U.S. Solicitor General Neal Katyal, who plays a similar role at MSNBC as Mr. Weissmann, told the outlet earlier this week that the special counsel may be “losing the war” in the Florida case after court rulings that favored the former president.

When asked by an MSNBC host about the judge’s recent decisions, Mr. Katyal, who worked under the Obama administration, said that “federal judges can sometimes surprise and that’s unlike predictable politicians” and claimed that the judge is attempting to slow the case down, which favors President Trump. Analysts on left-wing news outlets have asserted that the judge, who was appointed by President Trump during his term in office, is trying to help the former president derail the trial.

The judge, he claimed, “keeps kicking the can down the road. The fact that she had a daylong hearing today on these two bogus issues tells you everything you need to know,” offering his opinions about President Trump’s arguments. With the rulings, he added that “the big concern is that Jack Smith maybe won a battle, but he’s losing the war” in the classified documents case.

On Monday, the judge sided with the former president, issuing a paperless order to grant him a 10-day extension to file replies to pretrial motions by March 24. Days before that, she issued a ruling that allowed two amicus briefs to be submitted in the case, favoring the former president, which could benefit the defense’s arguments.

The former president’s attorneys wrote that both President Trump and his attorneys are currently preparing for a trial in New York, New York that is scheduled to begin on March 25, 2024, “and the need to simultaneously devote attention to that case and this matter has been necessitated in part by the discovery violations and strategic scheduling demands of the Special Counsel’s Office that have prejudiced President Trump in multiple respects,” they added.

The judge is also expected to push back the trial date, which was initially set for May 20. During a March 1 court hearing, she signaled to Mr. Smith’s teams that their proposed date for July 8 was “unrealistic“ but has not indicated when the trial would start.

President Trump is facing 40 federal charges for alleged mishandling of sensitive and classified materials that were obtained from his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida after he left the White House in 2021. Officials have also accused him of obstructing attempts to get them returned to the federal government.

The former president has pleaded not guilty to the charges, saying the charges are an attempt to interfere in the 2024 election while he is the leading Republican presidential candidate. He also faces charges in New York City, Washington, and Georgia and has pleaded not guilty in those cases.

He is soon scheduled to go to trial over claims that he falsified business records to provide adult film actress Stormy Daniels with “hush money” payments. Prosecutors in New York City allege that his campaign falsified business records to cover up the payments, which President Trump has denied. He also denied having an alleged affair with Ms. Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.

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